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Guidance for physicians on staying independent

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Medical Economics, in its series “Fight Back,” aimed at helping independent physicians and physician groups survive, gives these words of guidance from experts:

The piece says: “So are independent practitioners doomed? If you own a practice, should you take the next buy-out offer from your local hospital system? Not at all. In fact, practices all over the country are finding ways to survive, and even thrive, amid the changes roiling the medical industry.”

Advice:

  • “Accept that electronic health records (EHRs) are necessary to function in today‚Äôs healthcare environment and use them to improve patient care by, for example, tracking whether patients have gotten screenings or tests you have recommended previously.
  • “Look for ways to differentiate your practice in the eyes of payers in terms of the services you provide, or your efficiency and outcomes.
  • “Make population health management part of your care (and business) strategy by developing patient registries and tracking quality data.
  • “Embrace government reporting mandates and use them as opportunities to see where you can improve patient care.

“Achieving many of these goals requires more heft, in terms of patient numbers and financial clout, than most small practices can muster by themselves. {Thus} staying independent likely requires teaming up with other independent practices through vehicles such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and Independent Practice Associations (IPAs).”

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